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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Passing data from C# to Node.js via Edge.js

Edge.js is a phenomenal tool, but its documentation is a hit and miss.  Sending data to C# from Node.js is straightforward, and the JSON object is translated to a dynamic object automatically:

public async Task<dynamic> Invoke(dynamic input) {
   // echo input message
   await doSomething(input.message);

Returning data is not trivial, however, because any kind of complex object I tried to return caused unreported exceptions.

Until now!

It turns out that Edge .js returns associative arrays if and only if they're correctly JSON formatted. I don't recall seeing this documented anywhere, but it makes perfect sense (20/20 hindsight). So in order to return an associative array to Node.js, make sure to use a Dictionary object where the first element type is a string; if you want to send a list of usernames with their IDs, for example, you would either use

Dictionary<string, string>

with the ID cast to string for transmission or

Dictionary<string, int>

with the ID / username columns switched from their normal positions.

Of course, one could go about creating more intricate objects using the dynamic type, but that's beyond the scope of this post.

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